Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all out there! Snow shoveling, winter break, tree decorating, gift buying and wrapping; it’s all been leading up to today.

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Our family has much to be grateful for this season; good health, financial stability, employment, family, and yes, you, our readership. I was just telling Brother Mechanic that it is good to be a member of our family right now. So we send out well-wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy holiday, whatever holiday you celebrate. We hope you enjoy the loving support of family and the warm embrace of time spent together. Merry Christmas.

Today’s To-Do List

Here is part of today’s To-Do list, in paragraph form for added effect:

Edge and mow backyard and sweep up; throw out project garbage; empty house recycling; change all bed linens; change towels; do laundry (times 5); start organizing clothes for pending trip; walk rental dog (times 3); make and serve all of days’ meals; go to Post Office to mail package; pick up Sweetie at school; bath two daughters;

Stop.

Because you get the point.

Some days you have to add “blow bubbles” to the list. Yes, today was one of those days. And yes, it was the most productive twenty minutes of my day.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Hello Readership! This post goes out to all the committed Dads out there, stay-at-home or otherwise. From all of us here at Dad’s Diaper Detour, Happy Father’s Day!

20160618_115439This is your day, dad, to spend it however you want doing whatever you want. That being said, I know you will probably be driving all over bringing your kids to visit various male relatives, possible grilling for lots of family members and enjoying many well-deserved ties and coffee mugs. Maybe that’s just a preview of my day? Anyway, that’s all a part of this adventure of fatherhood, right? And hopefully we are growing into this role with the grace that our elder men demonstrated.

Enough silly banter, though. I sincerely wish all of you a day filled with family and friends and overall good sentiments for the job you are doing well. Happy Father’s Day – now back to it!

Happy New Year!?!

In my previous post I said I did not know how many installments I would write for the D-3 “Christmas Survival Guide”. Yeah, it came out to that one post – definitely an opportunity for improvement in 2016. Honestly, if I knew that was my last post for 2015 I would have wished you, my dear readership, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. But that’s why I’m writing this post!

Would you believe that the delay was part of my plan? That I didn’t want to share holiday internet space with everyone else, but instead wanted to wait until mid-January to share pictures of the girls? That way, there’s no competition and you can focus solely on them. No, I’m not buying it either, and I’m writing it. Anyway, here they are:

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To tell the truth, we had a strangely busy holiday season. Most of Wife’s family were travelling and out of town, and everyone local on my side got together on the same day. But our foursome stayed busy throughout. And what a great problem to have! We spent a bunch of time together as a family. Movie nights, lots of playtime, some Christmas adventures. It was great.

And now we’re in the new year. I don’t know about you guys, but mine is starting off at full-pace – I can’t believe we are already 3 weeks in. I was just able to read over the year-end numbers from WordPress to see how this blog did last year. I was a bit disappointed to see that I posted 5 fewer entries than in 2014 – that’s on me. I was very excited to see that the site hits had gone way up though. And that is because of all of you, my dear readership!

So let me put a great big “THANK YOU” to all of you out there who take the time to read, comment, like, follow, re-post and all of that other stuff that shows support for the detour. That’s big thanks to my family and friends for their continued support; to the new followers who came on board; to the people using the comments section, particularly BDB; to my girls for the continuous, sometimes overwhelming, font of material; and to Wife, my top supporter, most constructive challenger, thorough editor, available sounding board and the best partner ever. All of you help to get me in front of the computer to write these entries and share these stories and I appreciate your support of this blog and this family.

And so we’re off and running. I think it is customary to feel nostalgic during this time of year. I get that feeling around November and it usually lasts until February. So I am going to use it to re-visit some notes and stories from earlier in the year. You know, make up for stuff I didn’t do in 2015 (even though I don’t believe you really can). With Sweetie’s PreK-3 rolling into it’s second half, and Cricket’s everyday adventures continuing to ramp-up, there is a lot of new stuff to write about also. So again, thanks for taking the detour with us, and please continue to enjoy the trip.

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20 Year Take-Aways

There are limousines parked at the Olive Garden, Facebook is exploding with photos of teens in ill-fitting evening wear and reunions abound – we are in the homecoming season. We celebrated by attending my 20 year high school reunion. It turned out to be a fun night spent in the northwest suburbs (down the street from my high school) with many pleasant re-connections and funny memories. We did not take the girls with us, for obvious reasons. But I did try to remember a few things from the night to share with them as they face challenges approach older school years. I figure I have to record these thoughts now – my memory might not be so great by the time the girls can appreciate this wisdom.

  • Things change, people change. It was weird to look around a room full of classmates and pause with so many people. Some of the people who were big in high school are not so big anymore. And some people who were small are not so small anymore. Some people who were “too cool” twenty years ago are approachable and friendly. And some who were friendly then are now a bit too cool. Like everything else in life, people change.
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same. About halfway through the event it struck me. The novelty of the night was wearing off, the music was getting too loud to talk, and the alcohol was setting in. And people starting drifting into the groups that they knew twenty years prior. People went with what was comfortable, even if it was a bit older.
  • Everything shakes out, even if it takes twenty years. Again, the evening was full of pleasant re-connections. Gone were so many of the social constructs of our youth. The social strata was also largely absent. Nobody got loud and nobody re-hashed twenty-year-old drama. Interactions felt more genuine – we were meeting one another right where we were, and that was okay.

I know this stuff is not really profound. In fact, I am sure many people would just say it is just a sign of “growing up”. But I do hope to share these thoughts with the girls when they are in high school. My high school years were not traumatic, but there are things that could’ve been better. I expect their experience to be similar, so I want to have some good stuff to offer them.

So for all of you out there who were at the event, it was great seeing you. I am glad our detours crossed. Especially MN – congrats again on your success, so good to see you, girl. To all those from the “rival” high school, glad you crossed Camp McDonald. So now I guess we start looking forward to the thirty year – Go wildcats!

Mother’s Day well-wishes

Just taking a minute to wish all of the Mom’s out there a Happy Mother’s Day! This year we bought some cards, made some others, sent some gifts, sent some flowers and ate steak. You gotta love a Mom who digs a well-cooked steak (sorry to all our vegetarian reader). Yeah Wife!

As I was prepping and sending cards I was thinking about motherly traits. We celebrated aunts, grandmothers, mothers, godmothers and friends today. And they didn’t all carry a child for 9 months of gestation and birth said child. But they all show the loving, nurturing, fun (but firm) traits that I attribute to motherhood. It was great to send them a thank you and give them their due props.

So to all of our loving, committed mothers and motherly types, we love you and celebrate you. And it’s not just today, but at least today we remember to say so: Thank you for the gift of you! We hope you enjoyed your day.

It’s a Cricket at 6 months

Step right up and get your fix! Here’s a little Cricket who just celebrated six months in our lives. That’s right, the honor is all hers…ha, ha. Exciting day here on the detour. We enjoyed yet another quick well-check with the doc today. And when I say “enjoyed” that means today’s celebration included my first Coca-Cola of 2015, Dunkin’ Donuts in the late P.M., and a thank you to the Universe for my family’s continued health. Hey, I have no probably showin’ out for my family, but I will always be sure to stay grateful. So here she is today:

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As you can see by the pose, she is getting more active. These monthly shots are going to be more and more tricky to capture, but we’ll keep on! So nothing too profound to add here, just a good day with my girls. I hope yours was good too.

I love photo shoots!

I love photo shoots!

2 Months In…

Wife and I said we were going to be better about tracking the Cricket’s progress. We decided the belly stickers were an easy, accessible, and cute way to do this. Cricket hasn’t gotten much space on the blog yet, besides her introduction, so there is more to come (isn’t there always?!?). We did visit the doc this week and she was given a clean bill of health. Our history of quick, uneventful doctor visits continues with this daughter. That also means my general gratitude to the universe just got a pinch more profound. So here she is at two months!

Hey there.

Hey there.

Today’s Life Lessons

The Universe was all about life lessons today. I made sure to share them with Sweetie, right up to the moment that the student became the teacher. But I am getting ahead of myself. First, some stories from the day.

Anecdote #1:

While stepping outside to retrieve the paper from the steps, I overheard a loud monologue of profanity echoing through the morning. With the 9:30 AM temperature approaching 60 degrees and the sun shining I thought, “What is all this?” Looking down the street I saw the municipal trucks and realized the traffic pattern on our 1-way street must be challenged because of tree trimming. Apparently, an older gentleman in car #1 (a 90’s Oldsmobile) must have passed through the stop sign in a manner that angered younger gentleman #2 (in a 2010ish Infiniti).

“Pull over old man, I’ll EFF you up (Censored by me-this is a family-friendly blog). Pull the EFF over old man. I’ll EFF you up EFFin’ Old man. Pull over right now.”

Well, the older gentleman listened to this for half a block and decided to put his car in park right in the middle of our street. When he got out and faced gentleman #2, I thought someone pushed pause on the soundtrack. It got real quiet. I could hear the leaves rustling in the fall breeze.

Gentleman #2 uttered a few weak, mumbled responses. Gentleman #1 called him some select, albeit sexist, names. He got back in his car and proceeded on his way, knowing in good faith that old school will always kick your ass.

Anecdote #2:

Around 11:00 AM I was driving Sweetie to her painting class and I pulled up to a red light. I thought my lane was the right lane (all the rest of traffic was on my right), so I was a bit surprised when a white Impala pulled up on my right. I could see a parked car just across the intersection, so I assumed they were making a right turn. Well, with the green light we both went forward until we got to the parked car. Our stalemate ended with the Impala braking hard, swerving behind me and speeding past me on my left. When they passed the passenger yelled something unintelligible at me.

I let them drive on and noticed they were slowing, looking like they were going to make a left turn. Turns out the passenger had more to yell to me and kept making noise as I passed them. Instinctively, my foot went to my brake pedal to slow the car and set us up for a third passing and probably a confrontation. Then I saw Sweetie in the rear view, the fall sun out before me, and instead decided to cruise on to class.

Anecdote #3 (we’re almost there!):

Painting class was a bit of struggle, Sweetie wanted to do everything but paint her pumpkin picture. The class is really like “paint play”, but today she wasn’t having it. She had to sit in my lap, she didn’t want to sit still, she was demanding about the brushes, she dragged her arm through the paint, blah, blah, blah. Cue Frustration.

After class we headed outside to have a picnic lunch in the park. With the temperature safely at 60 and not a cloud in the sky, there was no way we were missing the chance. Sweetie ate fine, but the wind was blowing like 200 miles an hour. And the day was not as warm in the shade. And the park squirrels started circling us (which normally isn’t so bad but today they took a tactical position in the tree we were near and that freaked me out a bit). So lunch became a walking lunch. Bump the frustration a notch.

After the food was done and we escaped the squirrels got into some sun, Sweetie found the park’s largest leaves lying on the ground. She has a thing for leaves and will rake them up, stomp them, collect piles by hand-she just likes playing with leaves. So when she saw these leaves that were as big as her face (I’m not a dendrologist, but I think they were maple leaves), she was completely stoked. She would pick them up and toss them into the wind. And she was just cracking up helping the leaves blow away, outside on a sunny fall day.

So, finally, here are my “take-aways” for today. #1) I told Sweetie that beautiful weather, like today, makes people feel froggy – all big and strong and tough. Like gentleman #2 in his Infiniti and like the passenger in the Impala; when the sun is shining everyone thinks they want to jump in. #2) I let my daughter know that she should never let her mouth write a check her butt can’t cash. This is one of Brother-man’s favorite sayings, and it was a fitting description for gentleman #2 and his tirade being cut short when he was called out. And #3), my last life lesson for today, was all for me. Sweetie was a perfect example of enjoying a moment and finding happiness is something simple and accessible. It reminded me of a recent post from Stay-at-HomeField Advantage. SAHD “Ryan” talks about taking a page from a child’s playbook and remembering to see the wonder and the good around us. And that was what my daughter was doing today right in front of me. No structured lesson, no directions, do drama, no raised voices. Just the sun and the wind and the leaves to enjoy.

Random 360’s

Each night after dinner Sweetie and Wife spend time visiting and playing together in our front room. It is their time before bedtime. Tonight as my daughter walked past me she stopped, spun halfway around, paused, finished the full rotation then kept walking to join her mother. Keep in mind she still “toddles” when she walks, so this was a pretty cute scene. Her spin made me smile right away, and then it got me thinking: At what age to we stop doing random 360’s?

The question is about enjoying life, particularly the subtlethings. With Sweetie I often witness her enjoying some simple thing. Times like when we are outside and she gets so excited by the changing leaves or a random squirrel. Or when Wife comes home from work and Sweetie is nearly frozen because she doesn’t know what to do first; run to the door or shriek or maybe just stamp her feet in excitement. She shares all of these discoveries with smiles and pointing and her excited babbling, all of which are so genuine. But as an adult I find that have to stop and focus on these things in order to appreciate them. And I think most of us adults have this same experience. And that makes me kind of sad.

The reasons are obvious; work, social life, increased financial responsibilities, family, etc. It’s all part of growing up, I know this. So the need for vacation time, and recreation time become even more important – the “stop and smell the roses” bit. After hanging out with my daughter though, I can’t help thinking that the adult world is missing out.

And I know adults who do appreciate the small things in life. It is not accurate to say they have a “child-like” approach to life. I think that could be taken the wrong way. But there are people are content with good food, good company, and an occasional elegance. I find their presence to be a refreshing reminder also.

Ah well, maybe I should just try to enjoy the changing fall leaves this Fall and keep an eye out for those subtle, simple things. It’s probably safer that way because I think if I tried to spin around while walking I would probably fall on my butt. For a toddler that’s cute, for her Dad it’s just weird.